Countdown to 2014

Janiva Toler

Are you prepared for the Individual Mandate?

Wasn’t the Annual Meeting webcast inspiring? It was particularly meaningful here at the BA as staff, residents, guests, and visitors gathered in our darkened Chapel to listen to the healing messages from the Christian Science Board of Directors and from church members around the world. I loved hearing Nathan Bermel share his healing of a chemical burn. It was wonderful to see Nathan and his mother in the video after reading their testimony in the March 4, 2013 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel, which spoke of the “loving…fearless and practical manner” of the Christian Science nurses who attended to his care needs.

At the BA we provide care for those who choose to rely solely on Christian Science for healing, and who work with Christian Science nurses and practitioners. To support those wishing to rely upon Christian Science for healing, we provide information about available services and information about how to pay for those services. This includes private, employer, and government insurance, as well as sources for grants and benevolence.

Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (known as the Affordable Care Act or ACA) was first passed into law in 2010, we have been providing information about how the ACA impacts Christian Scientists. Many of the questions that come to us regarding the requirements of the ACA are in reference to the individual mandate. The individual mandate requires most individuals to have minimum essential coverage, or to pay a penalty beginning in 2014. We thought it would be helpful to provide the most up-to-date information on the individual mandate in order to help you make decisions for the January 1, 2014 deadline.

I continue to recommend as the best source of information the Committee on Publication Federal Office section of Their latest update is Important Year Ahead. This details the excellent work they are doing on our behalf. I also find their FAQs (frequently asked questions) regarding the ACA extremely helpful. Here’s the link: Frequently Asked Questions.

On January 1, 2013 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued proposed regulations for the individual mandate provision of the ACA. To begin the Countdown to 2014 I’m going to give you more detail regarding…

  1. What qualifies as minimum essential coverage, and
  2. How penalties will be determined and paid.

What qualifies as minimum essential coverage: An individual is considered to have minimum essential coverage for any month in which he or she is enrolled in one of the following types of coverage for at least one day:

  • An employer group health plan
  • An individual health insurance policy
  • A government plan such as Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), TRICARE or veterans coverage
  • Student health coverage
  • Medicare Advantage Plan
  • State high risk pool coverage
  • Coverage for non-US citizens provided by another country
  • Refugee medical assistance provided by the Administration for Children and Families
  • Coverage for AmeriCorps volunteers

How penalties will be determined and paid: The first penalties will be due when individuals file their 2014 tax returns in 2015. A penalty is determined by calculating the greater amount of either a flat dollar amount or set percentage of income. The annual penalties for 2014 through 2016 are noted below. Beginning in 2017, penalties will increase based on the cost of living.
2014. Greater of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child under age 18 (maximum of $285 per family) or 1% of income over the tax-filing threshold
2015. Greater of $325 per adult and $162.50 per child under age 18 (maximum of $975 per family) or 2% over the tax-filing threshold
2016. Greater of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under age 18 (maximum of $2,085 per family) or 2.5% over the tax-filing threshold.
If the penalty applies for less than a full calendar year, the penalty will be 1/12 of the annual amount per month without coverage.

I hope this information helps to clarify meeting the requirements of the ACA as you go forward into 2014. I will continue to keep you updated during the next few months as we countdown to 2014.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

8 Responses to Countdown to 2014

  1. Sue says:

    Appreciate your clarity. What is the “tax-filing threshold”?

    • Janiva Toler says:

      That is a good question. The filing threshold is the amount of income that requires you to file a tax return. People with incomes below the filing threshold don’t have to file an income tax return; those with incomes above the threshold must file.
      You can estimate the filing threshold using the 2012 figures of $9,750 for single filers, $12,500 for head-of-household filers, and $19,500 for married couples filing jointly. Or, for the most accurate results, you can get the filing threshold for the year in question from publication 501 at the IRS forms and publications page.

  2. susan collins says:

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful, concise, packed little
    summation of what’s involved in the Affordable Care Act or ACA, etc.
    It’s terrific.
    Thanks also, for including the various links, websites and email
    addresses to help with any further questions or needs.
    I have printed it out, – and intend to share it! It’s perfect for now, – and the future.

    Much love and gratitude,

  3. Paula Brensinger says:

    Yes, this is very helpful information. What is sometimes still not entirely clear, is whether a particular plan (such as Serving Christian Scientists plans) meets the requirements. Does the “individual health care policy” need to meet certain criteria for how much they cover of certain services? With the trends within states towards requiring insurance companies to cover certain care (such as reconstruction procedures, or other very specific care for specific conditions), it would seem that the minimal types of coverage that Christian Scientists buy might not meet the requirements. Will stay tuned!

  4. Barbara Carlin says:

    Like another commenter, I am going to print this information. It is very helpful to know the amount of the penalty. Thank you for providing this service. There is so much about the new law that is unclear.

  5. Thank you for your information about several ítems that i did not know befpre
    with affection

  6. Forgive me for MY mistakes I and BEFORE

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